Why Jesus Seems So Confusing at Times


Have you ever been reading the Gospels and been a bit taken by how some of what Jesus says or does seems confusing? You’re not alone. There are a number of places where it is clear the Disciples wrestled with not understanding some things Jesus said and did. And the account in Luke 2 below is a classic example of how that problem showed itself very early on. So read about when Jesus was 12 and the family made their trip to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus turned out to be missing from the returning caravan, and it took 3 days to find him. Then we read: “they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.”

2 things come to mind about this scenario.

First – This event is a portent of what will become a constant feature throughout Jesus’ life – that He is out of sync with the world and everyone’s expectations in it. And here is the truth, here is the problem; we want God to align with our world. We want Him to make sense to us, and never imagine it is us who need to make sense to Him. We do not realize that we are the sole place in the universe which is out of alignment with Him! He is calling us to get back in line with Him. And everywhere in the Scripture where Jesus seems out of sync, it is because we are out of sync, not Him. He is the standard, not us.

When we do not understand God’s words or actions, it is due to our departure from what should be, not because He is being enigmatic or mysterious. He is to be the cosmic norm. And everywhere that seems odd to us, is another place when need to be brought back to what is right.

If He seems unjust in some place, it is because our sense of justice has become skewed by the Fall. If we do not understand His words, it is because we are no longer thinking in His categories. We have lost the Heavenly frame of reference. We have become anthropocentric, instead of Christ centered. So everything is askew. And we are always trying to drag Him into our framework, rather than seeking to enter into His.

Secondly, note what is revealed about Him Himself: How humble our God is.

Given the circumstances, the realities of His incarnation, the Lord of glory, the One who created the womb that had given Him birth; The One who at this very moment was sustaining the lives of His own earthly parents; The infinitely holy and perfect God – found it reasonable to remain submissive to His merely human inferiors. And for us, wives find it unimaginable to be submitted to their husbands. Children find it unbearable to be submitted to their parents. Men find it unreasonable to be submitted to ecclesiastical or even civil authorities. We chafe at submission of any kind.

Father, give us the Spirit of Christ. Who though God in human flesh, didn’t grasp after His divinity, but humbled Himself. May we find such ease on all your arrangements in life. May we sweetly submit to You, who love us beyond our wildest imaginations.  

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